Blocking Stops All Damage

In standard combat, blocking an opponent's attack is one of the most pivotal (and in some styles the single) facets. Fiction, or other realities, however, equates blocking attacks to being invulnerable to them. This disregards the fact that blocking still requires taking the force and momentum of the attack, just on something a little less (and in some examples more) vulnerable to injury. This fact is why armor was typically worn over a layer of padding (even modern ballistic body armor includes several layers of padding in addition to the kevlar weave and armor plates.)

This is usually because of the Law of Conservation of Detail. If you have gone into the trouble of having the punch blocked, why show that it actually did some damage? In Video Games, this is so that the engine can be simpler. Some tropes partially owe their existence to this like Punch Catch, Barehanded Blade Block, Spin to Deflect Stuff, Not the Fall That Kills You, Concealment Equals Cover, Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me, Punch Parry, etc. Sometimes averted by Scratch Damage and a guard-specific Break Meter. Subverting this trope — prominently showing an attack blocked just to show that it did damage anyway — can be done for The Worf Effect.

Compare Unblockable Attack, Armor-Piercing Attack and Invulnerable Attack. See also Defend Command.


Examples

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Pokémon: Not only do the blocking moves appear, it seems meeting any attack with another produces results. This has led to Flamethrowers being karate-chopped.
  • YuYu Hakusho
    • Averted when Hiei faces an enemy with a weapon far stronger than his sword. Blocking the thing actually cuts his sword and bracing it with his arm cuts his arm. He only gets a draw by taking a hit to make him drop his guard.
    • Also averted in the final battle between Toguro and Yusuke. Yusuke sends the most powerful attack he could muster against Toguro and he blocks it and eventually stops it after an intense struggle. Toguro then dies because the strain of blocking it was equal to taking the hit.
  • Aversion from Dragonball Z: Tenshinhan blocks a punch from Nappa but the force rips his hand off.
  • In Naruto, the fight between Gaara and Rock Lee has Gaara avoiding any injury thanks a thin layer of protective sand around his body—even though all of Rock Lee's attacks involved blunt trauma and slamming him into the ground, the impact of which Gaara was clearly feeling and being jerked around by.
  • Averted in Bleach when Rangiku blocks Gin's extending sword with her own, but the sheer momentum appears to have injured her arms, which are later seen bandaged.
  • Averted in Kiss x Sis when Keita blocks a punch from his teacher with his writing hand. He suffers a minor injury that takes three days to recover from, hampering his studying ability. He later wonders why he just didn't dodge it instead.
  • Panzer World Galient: Subverted in chapter 3, when the titular mecha stops an axe blow from an enemy robot with its forearms, but the force and momentum of the attack knocks it down.
  • Justified in Saint Seiya with the shields of the Dragon Cloth, the Scutum Cloth and the Libra Cloth: the Cloths are powerful armor suits built by the ancient alchemists of Mu on instructions of the goddess Athena, and are effectively magic artifacts. Also Subverted in that they do have limits, and applying enough force can break them, as happened to all three at least once

    Arts 

    Comic Books 

    Fan Fic 
  • Loveless: Subverted, most the time. Generally, blocks still leave people launched away or at least shaken up.

    Films — Animation 
  • Leon manages to survive a Tyrant punching him by blocking the hit in Resident Evil: Damnation. While he is hurt by the hit, the tyrant proves to be strong enough to stop a tank.
  • The first thing Sephiroth does in Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children is block Cloud's swing so dead he and his sword suspend in midair for awhile. Easily justified by his insane strength, and the attack leaves a crater around him twenty feet wide.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • 300 takes this to parodic levels. Anything behind the shields is basically invulnerable.
  • Sports subversion from the second The Mighty Ducks film. The opposing team's goalie manages to stop a slap shot from the power hitter. The film spends a few seconds showing the goalie take off his glove showing a massive puck shaped bruise.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Played with in Angel when a blade is found that can actually kill the Beast. In the battle the Beast blocks every attack and seems to take no actual damage despite the Beast saying that it stings. The Beast blocks the sword and breaks it eventually. Angel kills him by getting a piece around his guard and into his head. Then the whole thing was revealed to be a dream of Angel's, making its use dubious.

    Roleplay 
  • Destroy the Godmodder: Zigzagged. When players block an attack, it doesn't deal any damage. If an entity blocks an attack, it only deals less damage.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • In all editions, shields add to your Armor Class score, and the higher one's AC score, the harder they were to hit.
    • 2nd Edition Player Option: Combat & Tactics supplement. If successful, the Block combat option would prevent a melee attack from hitting the character using it.
  • Champions. The Block combat maneuver would prevent any hand-to-hand attack from succeeding against the user.
  • Averted in RuneQuest: a successful parry or block only reduces the attack by the blocking weapon or shield's armor value, AND the attack can damage the blocking item.
  • Countering a power in Mutants & Masterminds is usually all or nothing; you either block the attack entirely or you take the full effect. The impassible counter extra removes this binary, allowing players to partially block for reduced effect. A successful counter still negates the effect, however.
  • Averted in Ironclaw, damage is determined by the number of attack dice that roll a number higher than the defender's highest roll. So a counter, parry, or dodge may block the attack entirely, reduce the damage, or fail to stop it at all.
  • Cerberus Engine Games: Defense, with the occasional Unblockable Attack exception. Played straight with actual Blocking in Rivals, which actually does prevent the player from being damaged or killed, as well as Defenders in NHL Power Play.

    Video Games 
  • Most fighting games fulfill this trope... somewhat. In your average fighting games, blocking will prevent you from taking massive damage from the foe's super attack, but you still take a fraction of it in the form of "chip" damage. While most characters are about finding an opening in your opponent's blocking to lay the smackdown on them, some characters rely on chip damage to slowly whittle their enemy's health down. This is particularly true of "zoner" type characters, who use barrages of projectiles or other long-range attacks to force their enemy to eat chip damage until they're nearly KOed.
  • Super Smash Bros.
    • Shielding will not only prevent all damage but can even reflect projectiles if done properly. Every attack blocked weakens the shield, though, culminating in a possible stun state.
    • The Fire Emblem fighters have a move that not only negates all damage, but (assuming you block a split-second before your opponent's attack) your character will immediately counterattack as well. Visually the characters take a quick back-step during the block, so we can infer it's actually a parry, but it still somehow grants invulnerability frames against explosions.
  • Devil May Cry
    • Dante has his Royal Guard skill that can block anything if properly done, including explosions, electrified floors and 100ft tall statues drop kicking him. Use it wrong and Dante will take damage and the guard will be broken.
    • Nero from the fourth game can block attacks by meeting them with his Power Fist the Devil Bringer. Blocking all sorts of attacks, giant spears, massive demons and even punches from the Savior.
    • Many enemies from bosses to mooks can put up a defensive stance and stop attacks cold. Some of the heavier attacks can go around these.
  • Bayonetta can equip an accessory that allows her to block enemy attacks and counter if done well. Her Mirror Boss Jeanne has the ablility to block attacks to, even in the middle of a combo.
  • Any Cyborg Ninja worthy of the name in Metal Gear can deflect more than they weigh. Grey Fox held back Rex from crushing Snake easily and Raiden could also block hits from a massive mech easily. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance gave Raiden a block function that is pivotal to success, but he can still take damage while blocking if his opponent is awesome or big enough.
  • In the WWE Day Of Reckoning games you will take damage if you simply stand there and block for too long. If you counter strikes you will usually take no damage though.
  • Iceman in Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes takes no blocking damage from nearly everything, which means he is an ideal choice to fight the otherwise unstoppable Game Breaker Cable. However, he does take absurd chip damage from War Machine or any projectiles that aren't truly energy based, making him and the rest of them a hard counter against Iceman.
  • In Oni, blocking an attack will render Konoko completely unharmed. However, some special moves are so powerful that they cannot be blocked.
    • In addition, blocking requires staying perfectly still and facing the opponent head-on, which leaves you open to throws.
  • All games in the Batman: Arkham Series use this.
    • Although it's not exactly a true "block," but a counter interrupting the attack, making it somewhat more justified. Robin's bullet shield somewhat averts this trope; it does stop all damage, but only at first, while the shield still has its own "life" bar, which is what takes the damage.
  • In Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door you can Super Guard against pretty much anything that causes damage in battle, regardless of whether that means physical attacks, projectiles, lightning strikes, falling walls, fire or explosions. All with no harm done to Mario. There are a handful of attacks than cannot be super guarded though and regular guarding just reduces damage.
  • Ultimate Ghosts 'n Goblins introduces shields which will unfortunately break after a number of hits. It is possible to obtain an unbreakable shield from a witch though, after which anything able to be blocked can be stopped with impunity, naturally that still leaves a lot.
  • Played realistically in Onimusha: Blocking will save you from harm and even break the attack of certain enemies. However, stronger attacks will break your defense leaving you open for the following attack and knocking you back. A handful of attacks can't be blocked at all.
  • Tekken had no block damage, most noticeable when the smaller characters blocked attacks from a bear. Some heavy shots would even stagger a defender, suggesting they would hurt a little but the life gauge would not go down.
  • The Nebulox like to invoke this trope in Sin and Punishment: Star Successor. There is a way around it sometimes. Often you just have to wait them out.
  • The Emperor Ing from Metroid Prime 2 has two impenetrable defenses, though they are not without drawbacks so he is not unbeatable.
  • One boss in Ninja Gaiden 2 explodes. The way to avoid damage is to block it. This leads to a massive arena-wide explosion stopped by a katana.
  • In Final Fantasy I, equipping certain shields allows you to block damage more often. Including poison damage. The rest of the series simply reduces the damage taken from attacks.
  • This is also the dodge animation in Final Fantasy VI, regardless if they actually have a shield equipped.
  • This is how the Sentinel and General classes "dodge" in Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn. Even though all Beorc weapons will eventually break unless blessed by magic it appears their shields are eternal.
    • In Awakening, the animation that plays when a unit takes a hit but doesn't take any damage usually involves blocking it with their weapon or shield.
  • In Super Mario RPG, proper timing on your Action Commands during defense could completely eliminate damage from an enemy physical attack; otherwise, they take half the normal damage.
  • A plot point in God of War Series. Kratos needs the power of the Golden Fleece to continue past some unavoidable obstacles. The armor can deflect anything, even the Blade of Olympus wielded by Zeus himself. This doesn't explain some of his famous Action Commands where he stops being crushed by titans the size of skyscrapers because he put his arms up the right way.
    • He is half god in addition to being a classic Greek tragic hero, so his strength is far beyond that of ordinary men. According to some, "Kratos" even translates to "strength."
    • The Fleece does have limits, however, with there being some attacks it can't block. Occasionally this can rationalized in that the Golden Fleece doesn't completely cover him, so if an attack has too much of a surface that most of it will still him regardless, but sometimes it makes less sense a the third punch in three hit combo from Zeus in God of War III
  • The unique defend command in Final Fantasy VIII negates all physical damage and half of the magical. Considering it's a GF ability, it can be considered partly magical, but seeing the Bonus Boss do no damage with its most powerful attack it's still pretty striking.
  • If The Legend of Zelda's Link can block an attack with his trusty shield, it always stops all damage and his upgrades to his shield allow him to block more stuff. Skyward Sword gave him a shield gauge that shows how much the shield can take before destruction, but his greatest shield is invulnerable.
    • Example with enemies in the Darknuts in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. If they're blocking, an attack won't hurt them. It doesn't matter if it's Link's sword, the ball and chain, an explosion from the bomb arrows, or even if his attack doesn't actually hit the area they're guarding with said block, their block animation just prevents all damage.
  • Many of Mega Man's enemies can take a defensive posture that cannot be punctured. Some games allow certain special weapons to pierce, however.
  • Dissidia: Final Fantasy allows minor brave attacks to be blocked and can reflect projectiles, though blocking certain attacks will leave you staggered. This is Exdeaths entire game plan as a Stone Wall. He can block almost any attack provided the timings right, even otherwise unblockable attacks. According to the developers a player is pretty much invincible if they get his skills down pat.
  • Pokémon: The moves Protect block any damage from the opponent's moves, except for a certain few moves. Detect achieves that same result by dodging. However, even these cannot fully protect against a damaging Z-Move.
  • MS Saga: A New Dawn: The Double Shield boost well stops all damage, even moves that cannot otherwise be blocked by other boosts.
  • Dwarf Fortress has the aforementioned issue with shields being able to block the huge area of effect from dragonfire and similar Breath Weapons even if they're made of wood. Shields can also completely deflect attacks even from monsters whose body parts are larger than their target. On the other hand, shields do not negate the momentum from an opponent charging into you, so they can still knock you over then.
  • Averted in World of Warcraft: Only dodging stop all damage, blocking and parrying don't.
    • Parrying can stop physical attacks, but not magic. Blocking stops a set amount of damage, meaning it completely negates weak attacks, but not stronger ones.
    • As of Cataclysm, blocking stops a flat 30% of an attack's damage with Warriors capable of "critically blocking" up to 60%.
  • Blocking in Avalon Code prevents all damage, regardless of the attack. Even the final boss can't do anything if your shield is up.
  • If you're blocking in Dynasty Warriors games, all attacks taken from the front do no damage while you're standing still (or riding a horse). Depending on the game you're playing, there may or may not be attacks that stun you for a long time for doing this. Some games also let you counterattack if you press triangle immediately before an attack hits you. The only exception is 6, which blocks everywhere.
    • In 8, the element Cyclone is a Percent Damage Attack that activates even if it hits guarding enemiesnote . In contrast, the Awareness skill makes your guard work on all sides, while Rigidity makes it completely unbreakable by any attacks. Pairing the two together makes for pretty ridiculous scenarios, naturally.
  • EA Sports' Fight Night 4 and Fight Night Champion downplayed this trope for the first time in the series. Though holding the block button would prevent any damage from the first punch or two from an opponent, the longer the block button was held the less effective it became. The more punches the block absorbed, the more the boxer's stamina would drain, the weaker the boxer's defense would become, and the more punches (and damage) would get through. Holding block for too long rendered it worse than useless due to the damage taken and stamina drain. The trope could still be played straight, but required skilled stamina management and careful timing to drop the block and recharge its effectiveness whenever safe. Furthermore, leaning in the wrong direction while blocking made punches more likely to get through even at full strength.
    • For previous games in the series, blocking stopped all damage, but was a guessing game for blocking high vs. low.
  • The shield you have in Urban Chaos: Riot Response stops all damage 100% of the time, whether from bullets, fire, or melee weapons, provided you've angled yourself correctly to face the danger in question. The only risk comes from having multiple enemies shooting at you from different angles or having a melee attack knock your shield down temporarily.
  • In Rise of Nightmares, a Kinect game, you cause the Player Character Josh to block by crossing your arms over your chest, with Josh animated as doing the same. His forearms thus turn away punches, acid, blades and chainsaws.
  • In Quest For Infamy once you buy the best armour, all blocks stop receiving damage, without it it depends on your skill level.
  • Successfully blocking in Morrowind will block all physical damage. Spell damage will still hit you full force.
  • Blocking an attack with a shield in Dark Souls I will negate a portion of the incoming damage, based on the shield parameters against that particular damage type (including 100% negation for very large shields). However, while it will reduce hit point damage, it will drain stamina instead, and your block may be broken with enough force. An alternative is the parrying mechanic, which allows you to completely negate an incoming (melee) attack with precise timing and positioning—as a bonus, it will also leave the opponent wide open for a devastating riposte for a couple seconds.

    Web Comics 
  • In 8-Bit Theater, Fighter decides he can block damage caused by falling in the same way he would block an attack... and proves it by surviving a fall at terminal velocity thanks to Achievements in Ignorance.
    Fighter: The way I figured it, the fall doesn't kill you. The ground does. So I blocked it.
    Thief: You blocked the Earth.
    Fighter: Why not? I can block magic and fire and all kinds of stuff.
    Thief: I hate it when the things he says that don't make sense make sense.
  • Schrodinger the cat uses this to totally punk Kain in Captain SNES: The Game Masta. Using a metool hat from Mega Man (Classic), and a counter belt he proceeds block every attack Kain can muster and chip at his health. If the amount of damage Kain was taking to be accurate, this happened for hours.

    Western Animation 
  • Clock King in Batman: The Animated Series manages to fight Batman to a standstill because he's studied his moves. This trope is pretty much the only way that is possible since he was a middle aged efficiency expert and Batman is...Batman.

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